Several cast members of Kim’s Convenience have spoken out against the show’s “overtly racist” storylines.
The fifth and final season of the longstanding Canadian sitcom launched on Netflix on June 2.
Shortly after the premiere, co-stars Simu Liu and Jean Yoon took to social media to voice their frustrations with the show.
In a lengthy Facebook post that was published on the same day that the final season launched, Liu listed the ways in which he felt that the show had let him down.
The actor, who will next star in Marvel‘s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, wrote: “I remain fixated on the missed opportunities to show Asian characters with real depth and the ability to grow and evolve.”
Season 5 of Kim's Convenience comes out on Netflix today, and I'm feeling a host of emotions right now. It is, of…
He added: “Our writer’s room lacked both East Asian and female representation, and also lacked a pipeline to introduce diverse talents.”
Liu concluded that he was “saddened” by the lack of growth that he believed that his character experienced.
Yoon, who played Liu’s mother on the show, took to Twitter shortly after to voice her support of her co-star.
This is a FACT that was concealed from us as a cast. It was evident from Mr. Choi's diminished presence on set, or in response to script questions. Between S4 and S5, this FACT became a crisis, and in S5 we were told Mr. Choi was resuming control of the show.
— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) June 6, 2021
“Storylines that were overtly racist, and so extremely culturally inaccurate that the cast came together and expressed concerns collectively,” she wrote.
A spokesman for CBC, which also broadcasts the show, told the BBC: “Respectfully, it’s not our place to speak on behalf of the producers or cast members of Kim’s Convenience.”
On Sunday (June 7) the official Kim’s Convenience Twitter account shared a post by Anita Kapila, a South Asian award-winning writer and co-executive producer, which praised a number of minority contributors to the show.
Anita Kapila is a South Asian award-winning writer and co-executive producer, and has worked on Kim’s Convenience since the first season. pic.twitter.com/L2O9soBGlo
— Kim's Convenience (@KimsConvenience) June 7, 2021
The tweet did not specifically reference any of the claims made by the actors, but did include the writer’s positive comments about her time on the show.
“I loved every writer who came into the Kim’s Convenience room,” Kapila said in the tweet. “But today I want to publicly acknowledge the women and BIPOC I was honoured to work alongside.”